Millions of Motorists Face Costly Winter Reality Check



Released on: October 28, 2011, 3:45 pm
Author: Nicola Toulson
Industry: Retail

Almost ten million motorists are risking breakdowns in freezing conditions by failing to prepare for the hazards of winter driving.

With gales, frost and even snow predicted to hit Britain by the end of this month, a worrying 32% of car owners have neglected to make the simplest check on the level of anti-freeze in the engine or top up the windscreen wash, according to a new survey for Halfords*.

Over 60% fail to inspect tyres, one in 12 (8%) don’t examine their windscreen wipers or their vehicle lights and 18% don’t know what condition their battery is in.

While the figures are stark, the position is actually an improvement on last year. Following three harsh winters, more drivers are making preparations for a cold snap. Four in ten (42%) claim they are better organised than last year, when the lowest temperatures for 15 years caused massive travel disruption.

Some 5% of car owners say they have already bought winter tyres while thousands have taken advantage of garages offering “winter checks”.

Car, leisure and cycling retailer Halfords said it had ordered in extra supplies of winter motoring products including snow chains, snow socks, snow shovels, de-icer, ice scrapers and screen-wash effective in temperatures down to minus 20C.

Mark Dolphin, Halfords Winter Motoring Expert said: “There’s always a rush for winter products when the cold weather comes. Unfortunately many leave it too late. Good preparation can help avoid breakdowns, accidents and save money.

“Attitudes towards safe winter motoring are changing. We even sold a surprising number of ice scrapers and anti-freeze during the October heatwave as people began to prepare for winter in advance.”

Halfords offers a free Five Point Car Health Check where a trained fitter will check your lights, blades, screenwash, oil and battery condition. Halfords Autocentres offers a more comprehensive 12-point Winter Inspection, which addresses the parts most at risk including tyres, alternator, starter motor and antifreeze.

In a report into the chaos caused by last winter’s big freeze the House of Commons Transport Committee put the cost of the transport disruption which left millions stranded at £280m a day, while the cost to the country’s economy was put at £6 billion. Millions of workers also found themselves losing pay as a result of not being able to get to work.

The Highways Agency has already launched a campaign to encourage drivers to prepare for winter weather.


Notes to Editors:

*Halfords carried out the on-line survey among 2030 motorists

Motoring organisations also recommend drivers prepare their vehicles for winter to avoid possible costly breakdown and recovery costs. Halfords currently offer a free Five Point Car Health Check where a trained fitter will check your lights and indicators, windscreen wipers, screen wash level, engine oil level and battery condition.

Halfords Autocentre¹s Winter Inspection is a 12-point check which specifically addresses the car parts most at risk, including tyres, battery, wipers, alternator, antifreeze, lights, and starter motor. It costs just £29.95 and includes a free Duxback Windscreen Treatment, a protective layer that disperses water quicker and reduces ice forming on your screen. The inspection also includes a winter consumables pack worth £10 that contains a trigger de-icer, concentrate screen wash, demist pad and heavy duty scraper.

For more information on Halfords products and services visit New Halfords winter products include:
Halfords Advanced Super Brilliance Bulbs, for up to 50% more light than standard headlights. Prices start at £14.99, buy one and get one free.
Hilka Traction Tracks, priced at £19.99
Halfords Snow Shovel priced at £8.99
AA Foldable Snow Shovel priced at £13.99
AA Winter Kit containing a wind up torch, foldable shovel, blanket, high visibility vest in a carry case priced £19.99
Halfords Snow and Ice Grips priced at £19.99
Halfords Multipurpose Snow Broom and Scraper priced at £9.99

If you would like further tips on winter motoring, visit the Halfords advice centre at For the latest information on the roads, visit

About Halfords:

The Group is the UK’s leading retailer of automotive, leisure and cycling products and through Halfords Autocentres is also the UK’s leading independent car servicing and repair operator.

Halfords employs approximately 11,000 staff and sells over 12,000 different product lines with significant ranges in car parts, cycles, in-car technology, child seats, roof boxes, outdoor leisure and camping equipment. Halfords own brands include the in-store Bikehut department, for cycles and cycling accessories, Apollo and Carreracycles and exclusive UK distribution rights of the premium ranged Boardman cycles and accessories. In outdoor leisure, we sell a premium range of camping equipment, branded URBAN Escape. Halfords offers customers expert advice and a fitting service called "wefit" for car parts, child seats, satellite navigation and in-car entertainment systems, and a “werepair” service for cycles

Halfords customers shop at 466 stores in the UK and ROI and at for direct home delivery or pick-up at their local store. Halfords Autocentres operates from 227 sites nationally and offers motorists dealership quality MOTs, repairs and car servicing at more affordable prices.

Contact Details: Nicola Toulson
t: 01527513464



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